No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

FRUIT SODA BREAD WITH OLIVE OIL - IN THE OVEN IN 6 MINUTES!

Fruity - and spicy!
We had some friends call round this afternoon, and I wanted to make them a loaf to take away with them.

This calls for soda bread, so I quickly knocked up a fruit soda bread with olive oil. The olive oil really softens and rounds the crust - which can often be quite hard on a soda bread.

Ingredients:
250g self raising flour
2 dessertspoons sugar
1 dessertspoon mixed spice
150g sultanas
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
155g water
45g extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Line a baking tray with some silicon paper and turn on the oven
  2. Into a bowl place the dry ingredients and mix to distribute the spices evenly.
  3. Add the water and pour in the olive oil.
  4. Mix quickly into a dough (I managed in in 90 seconds today)
  5. Tip out onto the worktop, without adding flour  - instead, drizzle with olive oil and knead for several moments.
  6. Then firmly mould it into a round flat loaf, about 3cm thick and place it on your prepared baking sheet. (With practice you can get the mixing and shaping done in less than two minutes.) To allow the heat of the oven to reach the centre of the dough more easily, cut a deep cross into the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.
  7. Bake in the centre of the oven at 220C (or 200C for a fan oven) for 25-30 minutes.

The loaf is ready when it has a good colour underneath and a skewer comes out clean. You may need to put it back in, upside down, for a few more minutes. Place to cool on a wire rack and – for a softer crust – wrap the bread in a tea cloth.

This loaf took 32 minutes from thinking about it - to admiring it!

Breadmaking Workshop in Wellington 23rd April 2016

13/4/16
Breadmaking Made Easy Workshop, 10.00am - 4.30pm 
23rd April 2016 Community Centre, Corams Lane, Wellington TA21 8LL
Dear Student,

This letter sets out what I intend will happen on the day and includes a list of ingredients and utensils which you will need to bring. If you are new to breadmaking, let me reassure you that it is much easier than you have been led to believe.

The session will begin in a relaxed fashion – the first thing you need to do is to find somewhere to park all the stuff that I ask you to bring, get yourself a drink and somewhere to sit down. Then there is a little paperwork we need to complete – I’ll guide you through that, if you can bring a pen that would be handy.

Before we start breadmaking I’d like to spend some time finding out what you expect to get out of the day’s session so that I can hopefully meet all your requirements. My aim is to turn you into a competent home baker (if you’re not already!) able to bake any bread you fancy.

The breads we will be making: Choice of 2 types of soda bread; fancy dinner rolls; cheese bread wraps (lunch); fruit dough to make hot cross buns and Chelsea buns; focaccia; and pizza.

The kettle is always on for a mug of tea or coffee (cost 20p). For lunch we’ll have a couple of the cheesey wraps.

I want to reassure all those students new to breadmaking that my first aim for this workshop is for everyone to enjoy their learning – I always delight in these sessions, and it’s my job to see that everyone else does. Breadmaking is an easy, everyday craft – as you’ll come to realise!

If you have a particular variety of bread you'd like to make instead of one of the breads on offer, I'd be very happy for you to do that. Get in touch if this idea appeals to you and we will see how we could fit it in to the programme. Or if you have any questions, doubts, suggestions at all, please don’t hesitate to ring or email me.

I have a blog - part breadmaking, part vegan cookery - in which I detail all my breadmaking activities. Here’s the post I’ve started about the workshop:


Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to the word ‘Companion’. The ‘com’ part means together – as in community – and the ‘pan’ part of the word means bread. So the word ‘Companion’ can be taken to mean, ‘Someone who makes bread with his or her friends’. Which is exactly what we shall be doing!

I look forward to meeting you and welcoming you on the course.

Regards, Paul 

Ingredients:
Flour. Don't forget to specify strong flour, as this is sold especially for breadmaking. Own-brand flours are fine.
Yeast. The most convenient for our purposes is fresh baker’s yeast – if you can’t get hold of any, I’ll have enough for everyone.
Olive oil. This is much cheaper these days, and it does improve the bread. Once again, buy the cheapest you can - £2.19 (I think!) for 750ml at Lidl!

Shopping list:
2 bags strong flour – one white and one wholemeal, or 2 white
Baking powder
250ml olive oil
100g sugar
Salt
50g fresh yeast if you can get some – or I'll have some for 10p
Sesame/poppy seeds*
200g sultanas or any dried fruit 
Mixed spice/cinnamon/nutmeg
150g grated Cheddar
Tomato sauce of your choice for the pizza
Dried oregano if you have it*
Rosemary – fresh or dried*
Black pepper*
Some tomatoes/mushrooms/onions/peppers for the wraps and pizza

*Optional

You will also need to bring:
An apron
A couple of tea towels, both to cover your dough whilst it's proving and to wrap any warm bread in to take home.
Baking parchment or paper (this is unlike greaseproof paper as it contains silicon)
Something to carry away the finished products (a large basket or cardboard box lined with tea towels would be ideal)
Sharp knife

Mug for hot drink

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

EAT, FAST, AND LIVE LONGER - How I began Intermittent Fasting

[14th August 2013 - discharged from the Lung Clinic.]

[Notes from a talk I gave to Taunton Humanists in March about Intermittent Fasting - including all I've learned over the past year.]

[Walking is no longer enough - my extra energy levels since fasting]

[Intermittent Fasting and the Hunger Switch] - why we feel more hunger on non-fasting days.]

How it all started, for me:
I began this eating programme (it's not a diet, it's a way of living - WOL) on the 27th Feb 2012. The story begins at the foot of the post if you want to read about my journey in chronological order. The links to the various research documents I've come across are posted as I found them.

In early August 2012, Dr Michael Mosley presented a BBC Horizon programme on the subject of fasting, including Calorie Restriction (CR) and Intermittent Fasting (IF). This backed up everything I'd discovered  about the health benefits of fasting - and I switched from 50% of calories on two days a week to the full-blown 25% of calories (600 calories or less).



Friday, 18 March 2016

RHUBARB PIE - with the simplest pastry ever! (Vegan)

Who would have thought that a pie could be simpler than a crumble? Yet that's the case here!


Pastry too thick? Not so sure.The filling is just tart enough, and the pastry is almost cake-like!
500g of rhubarb, with 100g of sugar, encased in a sweetened bread dough. Sounds simple, and it is - but it's oh, so flavoursome!

Here's a savoury pie, made the same way, with the method of assembly shown in pics. I used 200g of self raising flour, with 25g of sugar, and my wife maintains the pastry is too thick. So I was thinking that next time I'll use 150g of flour and roll the dough out thinner. But then again, I'm sitting here munching a slice of cold pie (and trying to leave some for tomorrow!), and the proportions seem just right. The pastry, bread, call it what you will, is almost cake-like - it's absolutely gorgeous!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

BREADMAKING WORKSHOP AT WELLS


Breadmaking Made Easy Workshop, 10.00am - 4.30pm 
12th March 2016 Portway, Portway Ave, Wells BA5 2QF
Dear Student,

This letter sets out what I intend will happen on the day and includes a list of ingredients and utensils which you will need to bring. If you are new to breadmaking, let me reassure you that it is much easier than you have been led to believe.

The session will begin in a relaxed fashion – the first thing you need to do is to find somewhere to park all the stuff that I ask you to bring, get yourself a drink and somewhere to sit down. 

Then there is a little paperwork we need to complete – I’ll guide you through that, if you can bring a pen that would come in handy.

Before we start breadmaking I’d like to spend some time finding out what you expect to get out of the day’s session so that I can hopefully meet all your requirements.

The breads we will be making will include 2 types of soda bread, fancy dinner rolls, bread wraps (which we’ll have for lunch), fruited bread from which we’ll make hot cross buns and Chelsea buns, loaf of bread, focaccia and pizza.

My aim is to turn you into a competent home baker (if you’re not already!) able to bake any bread you fancy.

The kettle is always on for a mug of tea or coffee (cost 20p). For lunch we’ll have a couple of the cheesey wraps.

Bring a large basket or cardboard box to carry all your equipment and ingredients - and the finished products to take home with you!

I want to reassure all those students new to breadmaking that my first aim for this workshop is for everyone to enjoy their learning – I always delight in these sessions, and it’s my job to see that everyone else does. Breadmaking is an easy, everyday craft – as you’ll come to realise!

If you have a particular variety of bread you'd like to make instead of one of the breads on offer, I'd be very happy for you to do that. Get in touch if this idea appeals to you and we will see how we could fit it in to the programme. Or if you have any questions, doubts, suggestions at all, please don’t hesitate to ring or email me.

I have a blog - part bread making, part vegan cookery - in which I detail all my breadmaking activities. Here's the post I've opened about this workshop.

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to the word ‘Companion’. The ‘com’ part means together – as in community – and the ‘pan’ part of the word means bread. So the word ‘Companion’ can be taken to mean, ‘Someone who makes bread with his or her friends’. Which is exactly what we shall be doing!

I look forward to meeting you and welcoming you on the course.

Paul 

Ps. I’ve just heard there are 11 students signed up, so this is going to be a really busy workshop. We’ve reached this number due to the cancellation of a planned workshop in Frome. So, welcome to the Frome students - I’ll do my best to make sure that you find your journey worthwhile.

There are a couple of things I’d like to draw your attention to (I’ll mention these again in the session, of course):
Because it is such a big group, I’m going to be more dependent than usual on student cooperation. I’ll be giving everyone as much attention as I can, but if I’m occupied elsewhere, and you can help your fellow students, that would be a huge benefit. Bread making lends itself to co-operative endeavour in my opinion.

I’ll be bringing my own ovens, which are small (but very efficient), about the size of a microwave, with 3 shelves. To fit 3 trays in the ovens, we don’t want the bread to rise too high. So, flat(ish) breads are the order of the day. The ovens are very good, with 2 elements - the top element bakes the top of the bread, whilst the bottom element bakes the underneath. So, the trays need to be circulated - top to bottom to middle, etc. Timing is very important, so please bring a kitchen timer if you can - I wish to avoid any burnt bread if at all possible.

Ingredients:
Flour. Don't forget to specify strong flour, as this is sold especially for breadmaking. Own-brand flours are fine.
Yeast. The most convenient for our purposes is fresh baker’s yeast – if you can’t get hold of any, I’ll have enough for everyone.
Olive oil. This is much cheaper these days, and it does improve the bread. Once again, buy the cheapest you can - £1.99 (I think!) for 750ml at Lidl!

Shopping list:
2 bags strong flour – one white and one wholemeal, or 2 white
Baking powder
250ml olive oil
100g sugar
Salt
50g fresh yeast if you can get some – or I'll have some for 10p
Sesame/poppy seeds
200g sultanas or any dried fruit 
Mixed spice/cinnamon/nutmeg
150g grated Cheddar
Tomato sauce of your choice for the pizza
Dried oregano if you have it
Rosemary – fresh or dried
Black pepper
Some tomatoes/mushrooms/onions/peppers for the wraps and pizza

You will also need to bring:
An apron
A couple of tea towels, both to cover your dough whilst it's proving and to wrap any warm bread in to take home.
Baking parchment or paper (this is unlike greaseproof paper as it contains silicon)
Something to carry away the finished products (a large basket or cardboard box lined with tea towels would be ideal)
Sharp knife
Mug for hot drink



Monday, 29 February 2016

MORE THOUGHTS ON INTERMITTENT FASTING AND EXERCISE


Sunday 28th February 2016
I'm now a step nearer my press up challenge, which is to raise money for a couple of local charities* by doing lots of press ups in a limited time.

I've just completed 500 press ups in under 25 minutes! [smug]

I did them in sets of 20 - every minute, on the minute.

So:
20 press ups by 00.20
40 by 01.20
Etc, etc, etc.

It was quite encouraging to find that each set took me consistently between 18 and 21 seconds.

But I have to admit that the last couple of sets were a struggle. My goal was to complete the task under 25 minutes - so instead of starting the last set at 24 minutes, I gave myself another 30 seconds recovery, and finished at 24.51.

I don't think it's unreasonable to set a goal of 1000 in under an hour within the next couple of months. Then I'll need to decide on what the best money-raising target would be.

Suggestions gratefully received - I'm thinking something like:

"78-year-old attempts 1000 press ups in less than one hour! Sponsor him at 1p per press up!" [grin]


*YMCA and St Margaret's Hospice.

22nd February 2015
Press ups - now doing them with 8kg on my back (rucksack with 6kg kb + some CDs to bring it up to the right weight).

I'm now able to do 200 weighted press ups in 2 lots of 100. Yesterday I did my 2nd 100 in 4 minutes 21 seconds.

Before  did my evening press ups (I do them while watching Newsnight on the BBC), I thought I'd check up on how many press ups (without weights) I can do in one minute. I'm delighted to report that I did 62 in one minute. My goal is to do 60 in one minute with 8kg on my back.

Kettle bell - I'm now doing sets of 20 of all my exercises with the 9kg kb. I'd like to move on to the 12kg, but I'd really like to get the approval of my MD for this. So I'll concentrate on consolidation with the 9kg - shortening the gaps between sets, etc. 

Still doing one 24hr liquid only fast each week. Weight still the same at around 9st 4lbs.

30th January 2015
Tonight I thought I'd see how long it would take me to do 500 press ups. I started with sets of 15 every two minutes. This was fairly easy, so I dropped the recovery period to 1.30. I found this was still comparatively easy, so I did the last 100 in sets of 20. Took me 55 minutes altogether.

Next time I'll go for sets of 20 from the beginning, and have a gap of one minute between sets. This should bring my time down to under 40 minutes.

13th January 2015
Over the last couple of months I've been concentrating on just a couple of weight-bearing exercises - push ups and kettle bells, on alternate days.

I started at the beginning of November with my 9 x 6kg kettle bell exercises (4 sets of 10 reps) and just 30 push ups - 6 sets of 5, concentrating on getting my form as good as possible.

Now, with my 9kg kb, I'm doing 4 sets of 14 reps - and tonight I did 100 push ups in under 6 minutes - 5 sets of 20.

I haven't resumed my pull ups, yet, or my hand stand prep - but I will do very shortly.

My HIIT routine - 6 sets of 30 secs running on the spot in a swimming pool (4 foot depth) is going well. I can now do over 200 steps in each 30 second set consistently.

18th October 2015
In the summer I was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia (my fourth all told: 2 in the 1990s and one in 2008), so I've had to drastically curtail my exercise routines.

It’s now been a month since my successful hernia op and I’ve still got 11 days before I can resume my full exercise routine. All in all, it’s been over 3 months since I gave up any form of weight-bearing exercise. And I’m well aware that some of my muscles have lost a bit of tone.



However, I still have half a dozen or so different forms of exercise to keep me somewhat semi-fit:

I have a resistance band, which enables me to do five separate upper body exercises, whilst seated.

And a hand grip – 4 sets of 20 in each hand;
I do a lot of brisk walking;
I resumed my running on the spot in four feet of water HIIT exercise a couple of weeks ago after getting the all clear from my doc , and on alternate days I have an HIIT routine which involves swimming using the breast stroke, arms only, with my knees up to my chest;
I do 200 back and front back curls on alternate days;
I practice clenching my bladder control muscles every time I think of it – I have several post-it notes around the place to remind me. I can’t remember the last time I had to get up in the middle of the night for a pee;
To increase my lung capacity (I have a mild form of COPD) I hold my breath for long periods. I’ve had two PBs over the last couple of days – 2 minutes 45 seconds whilst sitting in the car in a queue of traffic; and 1 minute 15 seconds swimming under water.
Finally, I do a ‘titanium ankles’ routine (google it) which is practiced by free runners and parkour experts.
(The last three can be done anywhere – in a supermarket queue, waiting for a bus, etc.)

But I can’t wait to get back to doing my press-ups, pull ups and swinging my kettle bells around. I’m not sure, given my hernia op, that I’ll progress to a 12kg kb as I’d planned. I might just stick at the 9kg limit.



22nd March 2015
The ability to fast for long periods certainly makes my life a lot easier!

Twice in the last fortnight I've gone without food all day - because it suited my routine. (These occasions were separate from my weekly 24hr liquid only fasts [LOF] - since I'm practicing a 6:1 version of intermittent fasting [IF].)

A couple of weeks ago I - purely by chance - found myself teaching 4 sessions of breadmaking in the one day:

10.30am to 12.30pm teaching a group of students from Somerset College who were visiting My Day Services;
1.30 to 3.30pm my usual session with My Day;
3.45 to 5.15pm my usual session with the Taunton Association of the Homeless
6.00 to 8.00pm a one-off session with one of the YMCA youth clubs (there are three of them, with different age groups).

It was much easier for me not to eat - although I drank lots of water and black coffee - than to have to have organised three meals during the day.

I'm fortunate in that I don't feel any hunger when I'm fasting - it's pretty well been that way since I started.

And today, I was up at 8.00 am because I had a breadmaking workshop in Wells from 10-4.30 - about a 45 minute drive away. No breakfast means I can stay in bed that bit longer, and not having a lunch meant I could concentrate on the students and not worry about baking for myself. I finally ate at around 7.30 - giving me a 23 hour liquid fast.

Another of the changes I've noticed recently is that I no longer seem to awaken the 'hunger monster' when I nibble something. It used to be that if I ate anything whilst preparing a meal, for instance, I would have to continue chomping away until the meal was served up. Tonight I had a spoonful of the potatoes I was using in the Spanish omelette I was making  - and that was it, I didn't want anything more. Most odd!


I'm now well into my 12kg kettlebell exercises. Every other day, 4 sets of:
Right dead lift - 8 reps
Left dead lift x 8
2 handed dead lift x 12
Right handed swing x 12
Double handed swing x 12
Left handed swing x 12
Steering wheel x 12
Right handed lift x 8
Left handed lift x 8

On the other days I do my body weight exercises:
4 sets of 20 press ups with 8kg on my back
4 sets of chin ups - my record is 8, 6, 5 and 4 = 22

I started these last summer - but I wasn't going all the way down, I was keeping my arms bent. This last couple of months I've started doing them properly, and the progress is pretty slow. However, I'm definitely improving!

My HIIT routine is now 8 x 30 seconds running on the spot in a swimming pool (I have dodgy knees, so this is ideal for me) with 20 seconds recovery. I'm so used to doing this that I hardly get breathless - so I may have to find something else to stretch me.

As well as being motivated by GymBoffin, I’m inspired by this 95 year old bloke, who broke the 200m record for his age group a week or so ago. He has a TEDx video on YouTube, entitled ‪”Why bodybuilding at age 93 is a great idea‬”

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

ON A TIGHT BUDGET? MAKE YOUR OWN BREAD!

Making your own bread is one of the easiest and most satisfying things you can do when money is short. And, if you have your children to help you, it’s also a great deal of fun!

The cheapest bread you can make is a soda bread - just s/raising flour, salt and water. But there are many things that can be made with just those cheap ingredients.


On to yeast-risen bread. Contrary to what you may have heard, making your own bread is actually one of the easiest things you can do in your kitchen! It's also healthy, cheap, and a great deal of fun!

With own brand white bread flour at between 75p-£1.10 for a 1.5kg bag, three large (800g) loaves can be made for less than £1, depending on how your oven is heated:



"If you are considering buying a new cooker, remember that a gas main oven costs around 5p an hour to run, compared to an electric main oven, which costs about 17p per hour."   


Here are three ways of making your own loaves – one method takes an hour, hour and a half, or so; one will take you several hours; and the other, left to mature overnight, will take about ten minutes in the evening and the same in the morning – dead easy!



But it’s not just that you’ll save making your own loaves:
A decent-sized cheese and tomato pizza can be made for less than 80p!
A batch of hot cross buns for less than 30p! (Once you've made these buns, here you'll find the recipes for half a dozen or so varieties of fruit breads you can make - all delicious, and cheap!)

You’re a family of four with one banana – but you’d like a pudding. With a little chocolate spread, make a chocolate and banana loaf! It’ll cost you pennies. Check out the Banoffee bread variation, using a Mars bar – it really does taste like banoffee pie!

Anything made with pastry can be made using bread dough – containing no expensive fats, it’s both cheaper and healthier!

Got a jar of jam in your fridge? Then make some jam tarts, large or small – or make some healthy jam doughnuts. Perhaps you’ve some leftover mincemeat to use up – mincemeat doughnuts are wonderful!

Make a small bar of chocolate last all day by making a batch of pain au chocolat – chocolate rolls.

What about these apple and marzipan tartlets? Mouthwateringly good - and so simple to make! You only need an apple and some ground cinnamon and a little marzipan

While you’re making your pizza, double up the amount of dough and make four cheese and tomato/mushroom sizzlers (small bread wraps) as well – these are great for lunch boxes! (As is a slice of pizza – keeps fresher than a sandwich!)

There's more - much more - but I wanted to get this up and posted. Have a look around the blog and see what takes your fancy. Remember, you'll save money everytime you make something at home, rather than buying the finished product!

Have fun!

Ingredients:
Yeast - fresh yeast (the best sort, IMO) can be obtained from any small baker (who bakes on the premises) or from a couple of supermarkets at the bakery counter:
Asda give it away 
Sainsbury's will charge I think it's 19p for 50g/60 for 200g
Morrison's will tell you it's in the chiller counters (it never is!), and,
Tesco's generally don't want to know!

However, all these supermarkets sell 125g of dried active yeast - Allinson's, in a yellow tin - for 64p, currently. For small batches of dough, use the same amount of dried as fresh - for larger amounts, use half the amount of dried to fresh.

Sachets of fast-action yeast can come in handy sometimes, but be aware it isn't 100% yeast, there are additives in there. Plus it's about 3 times the cost of the dried active. If you do need to buy some, get the own-brand version.

Flour. You'll get better results from strong, or bread flour, than you will from plain, although half and half works fine. I use own-brand white bread flour but I go for Doves organic wholemeal bread flour at £1.99 a bag. It's a very tasty flour.

Olive oil, if you can afford it, helps to improve the quality and keeping property of your bread. Lidl and Aldi basic brands score highly in tests and a 750g bottle will only set you back £2.20 or so and it lasts for ages.

I use basic ingredients - dried fruits, jam, cheapo grated cheese (I've never understood why this is cheaper than blocks of cheese - but it is!) and get fantastic results. Bread seems to bring out the best in other ingredients, somehow.

Maybe I'm biased! :)

(If you'd prefer, here's a 'Breadmaking for beginners' post to start you off.)


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

DIARY OF AN INTERMITTENT FASTER

22nd February 2016
Bingeing - we've all done it!

You know the feeling you get when you've had a biscuit, or a piece of chocolate - your taste buds tell you, "That was nice, I'd like some more, please." Then before you know it, you're halfway down the packet of biscuits, or the bar of chocolate has gone!

As a vegan, I have a sure-fire way to halt a binge in its tracks - a teaspoon of 'nooch'.

That's nutritional yeast to the uninitiated - made by Marigold Engevita, it's £2.99 in my local HFS. (I use the version fortified with B12.)

It has many other uses, it's full of flavour and is low on calories - a heaped dessertspoon is only 17 cals. I use it on a bolognaise sauce instead of parmesan - I sprinkle it on pizzas instead of cheese. It's very versatile.

Back to bingeing on sweet stuff - if you've had one chocolate or the whole bar, one biscuit or half a packet, a teaspoon of nooch will reset your tastebuds instantly

I don't always, but I have in the past, taken one biscuit out of the packet, put the tub of nooch close to hand, had the biscuit, then straightaway had a teaspoon of nooch.

I'm posting about this today since this morning my daughter confirmed everything I've said about its binge-halting properties.

BTW, to halt a binge on savoury stuff, I've found half a square of dark chocolate does the trick - but I have no independent confirmation of this! grin



9th January 2016

I've said elsewhere on these threads that fasting has made me pretty zen when it comes to food - and I proved it again today.

It was the monthly meeting of Taunton Humanists - 2nd Saturday in the month at 12.00 midday - in the Winchester Arms, Taunton. We hadn't been here for a while, and the pub was under new ownership.

I would have liked something to eat, but, despite having 5 choices of soup, none of them were vegan! They all had either cream, or, bizarrely, honey, in them. My goto meal in the average British pub is generally chips, mushrooms and beans, but the pub didn't have any of these! They had sweet potato chips, but I decided eating could wait until I got home.

For a late lunch I fried up a field mushroom and made an omelette from gram flour, spread with hummus and with the mushrooms. Simple, quick and absolutely gorgeous!

Dinner was homemade pizza (dough made with hot paprika) spread with Pateole mushroom spread and either pesto or hummus - plus sliced m/rooms, tomatoes, roasted red peppers and sun dried tomatoes. I had this with curried potato wedges.

While the oven was on I made a fruit loaf a la Swedish tea ring, but instead of spreading the rolled out dough with oil and sugar, I mixed some apple puree with leftover mincemeat and spread that over the dough. Rather than roll it round into a ring, I left it in a log shape, just tucking the ends in.

7th January 2016

I began IFing almost 4 years ago - after losing 24lbs in weight practicing 5:2 (eating normally for 5 days and fasting on the other 2).  I've now been maintaining my weight by using 6:1 - and on the day I fast I generally don't eat for 24 hours.

Today was a fast day (FD) - I ate last yesterday at 6pm and I've just had black coffee and water today. We're going out to dinner with some friends very shortly, so I won't eat until the starter arrives, which will be around 7.30 or so.

From the beginning I've considered myself very lucky in that I don't get hungry on these fasts - not at all. In fact I have in the past fasted for 48 hours and still didn't feel any pangs of hunger. Of course I drink a fair amount of water to keep myself hydrated.

I've had a great day - I always have so much energy generally, and even more so on FDs. I teach breadmaking, and this morning I had a Family Learning class with 11 families, in a lovely school in Bridgwater -Hamp Primary School.  12 children made pain au chocolat, mincemeat doughnuts and fancy dinner rolls. Then, this afternoon, I had a couple of students making de luxe Chelsea buns - de luxe in that, when the dough is rolled out, it was spread with mincemeat instead of oil and sugar, before being rolled up and cut into buns.

I then followed this session with a visit to my garage, then I did some food shopping for the weekend, returning home about 5pm.

After only 6 hours sleep last night, I was now knackered - and, since I wasn't going to be eating for another 2 hours or so - I did what any sensible person would do, and had a short nap.

To the pub about 6.30, and I ended my fast, and quenched my thirst with a pint of real ale - Barnsey, made in Bath.

Had a couple of pints+1/3rd of a bottle of Merlot with my risotto - which was OK.

On return home I treated myself to a couple of Crepe Suzette with a dash of Tia Maria.

I reported this on the latest Mumsnet 5:2 thread and received this advice:

Alcohol during / right after a fast removes health benefits

...which I wasn't aware of! :(

I'll know better next time.